It really cannot be said that mankind gives too little trouble with corona vaccines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) alone currently lists 326 such projects around the world.

According to the pharmaceutical association VFA, there should be at least 338.

The focus in this country is primarily on the vaccines from Pfizer / Biontech, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson that have already been approved in the European Union and are effective.

Thiemo Heeg

Editor in business.

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Billions of people have already had it and other substances injected. In view of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant Omikron, which the WHO has classified as "worrying", and also in view of the concerns of vaccine skeptics, questions now arise: Are the existing vaccines still effective, can they be adapted? And are there mechanisms of action beyond the relatively new vaccine technologies that could convince high-tech critics?

Out of the hundreds of projects, one could at least provide a good answer to the last question.

The Novavax company is already well advanced with its vaccine and approval in the EU could be imminent.

In mid-November, the Americans submitted an application for approval to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

In contrast to the products on the market, it is a comparatively traditional technology.

Proven before Corona

Instead of using mRNA or vector viruses, Novavax uses a so-called dead vaccine with its drug Nuvaxovid. With its name, this category takes into account the fact that it does not contain any “living” viruses. Rather, it uses virus proteins, in the case of Corona a few micrograms of a selected protein from SARS-CoV-2. This protein is not obtained directly from the coronavirus, but is genetically engineered using nanoparticle technology. A potentiator, or adjuvant in technical jargon, alerts the immune system immediately after the vaccination: It then becomes particularly attentive to the injected exogenous protein and sets the defense in motion, which can then also fight the actual viruses.

Experts know that vaccines with virus protein have proven themselves against diseases even before the coronavirus - including hepatitis B and flu. This is one of the reasons why the Novavax product is considered a “vaccine for vaccine skeptics”. Not for those who generally refuse to be vaccinated. But for those who have doubts about messenger RNA technology, among other things, even if there are good arguments in favor of it. It could therefore be a vaccine for Bayern Munich professional Joshua Kimmich, who has so far rejected a corona vaccination with the misleading reference to "lack of long-term studies" - because this form of long-term effects does not exist - according to scientists.

Like the four manufacturers of the vaccines already approved in the EU, Novavax is also checking whether its own vaccine is effective against the omicron mutant of the coronavirus.

As with many vaccines, it is about the structure of the “spike” of SARS-CoV-2, with the help of which the coronavirus penetrates human cells.

Novavax is in the process of developing such a spike protein based on the genetic sequence of the Omicron variant.

The work on it should take a few weeks, they say.